The Most Under Appreciated Jam Band of All Time

When I was listening to Disc 2 of the Very Best of Jerry Garcia, the Garcia cover of the Beatles song Dear Prudence brought me back in time. Though this is a good version of the song and worth the listen, a better recording was made by the most under appreciated jam band of all time- God Street Wine- at their final show.

Recently listed at #855 on the Greatest Bands of All Time by WXPN Philadelphia, God Street Wine splashed onto the music scene in the early 90s, playing their final show on December 23rd 1999- I was there. A couple of friends and I hopped a train to The Wetlands in New York City to see the end of an era (which is Immortalized on the 2-CD Good To The Last Drop). Sadly, the venue closed its doors only a year later.

The final GSW show was the longest concert I have ever been to. The guitarist/singer Aaron Maxwell, who has a voice that makes you wanna cry, brought his father on the stage to perform trumpet with the band for a rendition of Dear Prudence. Having Maxwell pay tribute to his father, a music professor, was a special moment in the show. And though the performance is not flawless, the sheer emotion conveyed in the live recording makes this particular version unparalleled. However, this was not the only special moment in the show- The band must have played for 5 hours. And even when they played their last notes at 4 a.m. The fans still wanted more.

Though they did play a reunion show in 2001, band members have moved on. Lo Faber, lead guitarist and lead singer along with Mawell, has embarked on a whole new journey as a PhD student in history at Princeton University. I wonder if his classmates know the impact that Faber made on people. Check out this post calling God Street Wine “the best American Band from the 1990s.”

I recently visited amazon.com and saw that all GSW albums are currently out of print and available from resellers (often for pennies). $1.99 Romances, God Street Wine, and Red are worth picking up. God Street are among the best Jam Bands ever. Yes, ever. For reasons (mostly by record companies and such), GSW did not get the attention that others from the era received such as Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and The Spin Doctors. However, GSW can easily compete with any of these bands. Moe., Umphry’s McGee, String Cheese Incident all owe it GSW for helping pave the way. Now it is time for a new generation of listeners to check out God Street Wine.

So, I’ve been searching the web for the last remnants of GSW. The best resource is archive.org. You can still download God Street Wine shows there, there are 23 total. Here are some live recordings of some of my favorite God Street Wine songs thanks to archive.org.

Hammer and Spike
RU4Real
Ballroom
Into The Sea
Borderline
Mile By Mile
Princess Henrietta
Imogene
Wendy

GSW, we miss you. If these tracks peak your interest in GSW, please let me know.

Tags: God Street Wine, Lo Faber, Aaron Maxwell, Jam Band, $1.99 Romances

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Most Under Appreciated Jam Band of All Time

  1. Steve says:

    Wow, I was a huge GSW fan back in the day. First saw them in 1993 or so, and ended up seeing them a ton when I moved to New York a couple years later. They always put on an incredible show. “Into The Sea” is still one of my favorite songs. They are missed.

    I actually had a chance to briefly meet the band (less Lo) at a Damien Rice show here in New York a couple of years ago. I had no idea at the time that Tomo, GSW’s drummer, was playing with Damien (and still is), and I looked over and saw Aaron, Dan and Jon. Had to introduce myself and tell them how much their music had meant to me. Nice guys..

  2. Tom says:

    I remember these guys as well. There were lots of others that have dissappeard as well like The Grapes, Echoes Farm, Urban Shakedancers (the gredot records site still has a page with broken image links but not much else), Allgood Music Company ( Corky is one of the best vocalists I’ve ever jamed with and Clay is an amazing guitar player not to mention splendid bassist Mike Sands ). We used to do anything to open for these guys as well as Col. Bruce and ARU, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler etc… and I noticed another I got to jam with called Indecision is recording again. All these bands we got to jam with, open for and learn from we great, intelligent tallented people. Sometimes if it was a festival gig we were lucky enough to jam all these bands in some good sized (10-15 musicians at a time) free for all improvs. Of course this was back when you could show up at a club and shake hands with someone who would actually listen and give you a slot just because your music was good. Today when someone approaches me inbetween sets or after I am done playing a show I will absolutely produce a spot for them to open for my band if there music is good and they present themselves proffessionally. Even though it is the jam band scene it is still an aspcet of the music business and I hope we see more improv based music get distributed by artists. There is a lot of great music out there that will be heard soon. Please visit my website at http://www.tommarcellis.com for more info and free tracks.

  3. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s